Thursday, 21 April 2011

R&G Lounge Kearny Street review - San Francisco's famous salt and pepper crab


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Address: 631 Kearny St
San Francisco CA 94108
Tel: (415) 982-7877

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below $40pp (with order of a crab)
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
This is a series of reviews done up for my trip to San Francisco. I figure that since I have to eat, I might as well write about it. Enjoy!

This time round, I was better prepared for my trip to San Francisco after muddling through an earlier trip a couple of years ago. In order to make sure we get a table at my favourite restaurants in the city, we actually called and make reservations a couple of days before we depart from London.

While it was easier than expected to get a place at R&G Lounge, it was a bit more trying for The Slanted Door at San Francisco's Ferry Terminal. In the end we managed to secure tables for dinner at the former and lunch at the latter.

We were told that there are two dishes that you must try in San Francisco - salt and pepper crab and clam chowder with sour dough bread. And R&G Lounge is known for its salt and pepper crab. I recalled having at least two dinners at R&G Lounge and feasting on its crabs during my first visit, licking my fingers clean after I was done with the crabs' pincers. Naturally, this time round, we ordered the same dish as well.

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R&G Lounge's salt and pepper crabs were almost as good as I remembered it to be. The word 'almost' was added after my realization that the crab wasn't exactly the freshest after you are done with the savoury batter layered on its shell. The crab meat came across as a tad too dry and there wasn't much juice retained in the it. Care must be taken to consume it while warm; when cold, it would taste like the fish and chips that has been left on the counter for too long.

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In a futile attempt to cleanse our palate, we ordered fried beancurd. The fried beancurd (or 'tou pok') was one of the better ones that I have come across. Lightly fried, its interior remained silky soft. The starchy gravy helped quite a bit as well. This is one dish to go with a bowl of rice.

The double boiled soup tasted heavenly. At $6 per portion, it came with quite a bit of ingredients and among them a generous chunk of chicken with a fungus of some kind. Its full flavour with a tinge of bitterness was worth every penny.

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On our second visit, we had a Cantonese speaker with us and we got him to ask the staff for complementary soup, which they obliged. While I would hesitate to do the same for the Chinese restaurants in London, I couldn't help but notice that you do get better service if you speak the Chinese dialect. They even threw in free desserts (sweet potato tong sui) at the end of the meal. Needless to say, we left a fat tip for that dinner.

I would venture to say that R&G Lounge's salt and pepper crab is still worth the queue. Forget about the salt and pepper prawns, go for the 'special' beef slices that are served stir fried with a slightly sweet sauce instead.

R & G Lounge on Urbanspoon

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